St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Email editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message

Knights' road trip a magical outing

Published January 26, 2007


River Ridge has gotten so good it is planning to share Amway Arena with the Orlando Magic.

Okay, it was just one game Tuesday afternoon against Groveland South Lake. The Royal Knights lost 51-44, but won't soon forget the experience.

"It was awesome," River Ridge coach John Sedlack said. "It was great for the kids. A lot of parents and students came. It was really great."

River Ridge sold about 100 tickets for the game, which also included seats for the Magic vs. the Dallas Mavericks that night. Players got to high-five Magic players as they jogged onto the court. Brandon Tyson, a Mavericks fan, walked over and slapped hands with the Dallas players.

Sedlack even shared a few words with Jerry Stackhouse.

"I played all 12 kids because I thought it was unfair for everyone to go over there and not get a chance to play," Sedlack said. "I had never coached in a pro arena. I felt I belonged there."

Never say "die"

Larry Holden never experienced a season quite like this one.

The Hall of Fame coach from Ohio had reasonable expectations when he took over for Andy Schmitz at Mitchell.

The roster was green and full of wide eyes after 2006 marked the exit of 10 seniors.

He feels more of an investment in the program from his players might have helped in games such a pair of two-point losses to Ridgewood and Pasco.

Mitchell is 6-18 overall. Its 5-4 Sunshine Athletic Conference record is promising considering the Mustangs will return core of sophomores. But the district record needs work. Mitchell has not won in the district.

"We've been very competitive most of the time," Holden said. "Our problem has been on the road against the upper part of the district. Our kids understand what we're trying to do. We're moving in the right direction, but it's certainly slower than I thought we'd be moving."

Anthony Webb, Pat Schuster, Billy Hester, Jon Gaines and Spencer Boyd will be asked to commit much of their free time to sharpening shots and building muscle. Holden won't be as patient next season.

"Our kids didn't make the commitment that I thought they would. That's an area we need to improve," he said. "We need to get stronger, quicker and faster because we're competing with a lot of great athletes."

And despite the rough year Holden saw one at least one positive to build on.

"When teams get into the position we're in they often give up and quit," Holden said. "I have not seen that in these kids."


Gm Pts PPG

1. Hengesbach BM 17 304 17.9

2. Jenkins (WC) 22 375 17.0

3. Thomas (LOL) 20 297 14.9

4. Branco (Hud) 17 249 14.6

5. Lawrence (Rid) 16 228 14.3

6. Poderis (Rid) 16 203 12.7

7. Manora (WC) 21 264 12.6

8. Swanson (RR) 21 262 12.5

9. Thomas (WR) 15 182 12.1

10. Killinger (Rid) 16 190 11.9


Gm Reb RPB

1. Overbeck (BM) 17 176 10.4

T-2. Poderis (Rid) 16 145 9.1

T-2. Towson (BM) 17 155 9.1

4. Swanson (RR) 21 173 8.2


Gm Assists APG

1. Lawrence (Rid) 16 118 7.4

2. Potts (LOL) 19 79 4.2

3. Bilancione (RR) 21 83 4.0


The Times will run basketball stats on Fridays. Coaches should send updated stats and standings no later than Thursday afternoon to the Times via fax at (813) 909-4611, e-mail at or by phone at (813) 909-4619.

[Last modified January 25, 2007, 23:29:48]

Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters